Modi has built ties with the Gulf and Japan but nations closer home remain aloof.
A Fine Balance: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US President Donald Trump. (Photo: Saul Loeb/Getty Images)
The BJP’s 2014 policy promised to ‘reboot and reorient foreign policy’. Five years later, an outcome-oriented foreign policy seems to be the government’s biggest achievement, even as the challenge of Pakistan and a rising China remains.
> Reboot and reorientation of its foreign policy visibly led by a globe-trotting prime minister.
> PM Narendra Modi has visited 93 countries in nearly five years in office, as many as visited by former PM Manmohan Singh in a decade in office
> Major wins include outreach to the Arab world-Saudi Arabia and UAE-and to Japan.
> Arms deals have been used to strengthen existing defence ties. India has signed or is in talks to seal defence deals worth $10 billion (Rs 70,000 crore) with its strategic partner Russia, braving US sanctions. Relations with the US are on an even keel despite unpredictable President Donald Trump.
> Defused tensions with China after the 72-day Doklam standoff through an informal Wuhan summit in April 2018, but still did not endorse China’s Belt and Road initiative.
> India’s new-found diplomatic heft reflected in the global outpouring of support after February 14 Pulwama attack and February 26 Balakot air strikes. Pakistan was forced to return downed Indian fighter pilot after
> India’s soft power got a boost with the inception of International Yoga Day on June 21, 2015. Annual celebrations are a reiteration of India’s soft power.
> Maintaining India’s primacy in South Asia has proved to be a challenge in the face of a rising China. Nepal and Sri Lanka continue to remain in the orbit of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. China’s lack of support to vote Jaish-e-Mohammed leader Masood Azhar as being a globally designated terrorist in the UN three times, a low point in ties.
> India’s neighbourhood first policy, the revitalising of SAARC remains an insurmountable challenge, given nearly three years of acrimony with Pakistan, beginning with the attack on the Pathankot air base in 2016, right up to the Balakot air strike on February 26.
> India taken by surprised by Pakistan’s Kartarpur Corridor initiative, undertaken by Pakistani PM Imran Khan with the backing of army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.